UK Government Watch

 2014: Oct-Dec

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 Offsite Article: Cops and Throbbers...


Link Here 29th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry Censorship, Regulation in the U.K. Gets Underway. By Ben Yates

See article from xbiz.com

 

 Commented: An unpublished ATVOD newsletter reveals further censorship horror...

UK adult websites are facing the prospect that they will only be able to offer a few hundred BBFC censored titles to compete with foreign websites offering tens of thousands of uncensored titles


Link Here 22nd December 2014
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry The UK's new internet censorship rules banning much mainstream porn content don't always ban face-sitting, ATVOD said in a closed newsletter disseminated yesterday.

ATVOD, which censors video-on-demand in Britain, revealed draconian new rules for the porn industry nearly three weeks ago. Under the new rules, introduced through the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, content that would be cut by the BBFC is banned from UK VOD services.

Now as the BBFC cuts at least some content from about 15% of all mainstream R18's then at least this percentage of mainstream porn videos are now illegal to include on UK websites. In addition websites will probably have to self censor another 15% just in case the material may cross undefined lines.

Actually the BBFC cut 50% of R18s in the last calendar week for trivial and largely unpredictable reasons. This unpredictability could leave British webmasters with the only practical option to only include videos with an official BBFC R18 rating and all the trivially prohibited bits obligingly cut out. (Which is probably one of the intentions of the new law). Of course the rub is then that there are relatively few official R18s. A British website offering a few hundred censored videos would be competing with US websites offering a tens of thousands of uncensored videos.

UK media censor Ofcom has issued a revised designation allowing ATVOD the powers it needs to enforce the new rules.

Yesterday, in its newsletter, ATVOD clarified some details of what it will be focusing on while enforcing the new censorship rules:

Contrary to some press reports, the new regulations do not ban outright activities such as 'face-sitting' or 'spanking. ... HOWEVER ... they do mean that pornographic material which focuses on the restriction of blood or oxygen to the brain (which is potentially fatal) or on the infliction of lasting physical harm is now prohibited on U.K.

VOD services, as are pornographic scenarios featuring simulated incest [currently a very popular genre], rape or role playing as a child.

The new discriminatory rules also forbid U.K.-based online adult operators from distributing content that includes acts of female ejaculation, fisting and other types kinky content.

In the newsletter, ATVOD also hinted what might be next for foreign porn sites that allow access in the U.S.: A licensing regime. ATVOD said that it has worked with the U.K. payments industry --- including Visa Europe, MasterCard, PayPal, UK Cards Association, British Bankers' Association and Payments Council --- to design a process which would enable payments to be prevented from the U.K. to foreign porn services that allow children to access hardcore pornography.

Preventing payments from U.K. customers would disrupt the existing business model which is based on providing some content free of charge in order to attract visitors who are then encouraged to purchase premium subscription services. It would provide an incentive for foreign porn websites to introduce age-verification mechanisms in order to restart the flow of funds from the U.K.

The payments industry has made clear that in order to put such a process into place there would need to be greater clarity that foreign websites which allow children in the U.K. to view hardcore porn are acting in breach of U.K. law.

Representatives of the payments industry proposed that a licensing regime for foreign porn websites --- similar to that recently introduced for foreign gambling websites --- would be the best way of achieving such clarity.

Comment: ATVOD Idiocy

22nd December 2014. Thanks to Alan

letter writing Does the arrogance of these scumbags know no bounds?

They are quite open about their wish to impose this age verification nonsense worldwide, and to do so specifically by targetting web sites which behave ethically by offering free samples so that potential customers can assess whether or not they wish to purchase a membership. This is a disgrace. I hope that foreign jurisdictions will move robustly to disrupt ATVOD's idiotic control freakery.

Once again, we have the purported protection of children being used to treat everyone as a child. I can understand why opponents of this nonsense may wish to appear respectable by not directly confronting the notion that young people need to be protected, but I wish that they would do so. I very much hope that young lads (and indeed lasses) in search of a bit of naughty material will be able to circumvent ATVOD and parental controls. How old were these clowns when they first encountered smut? I was about fourteen. Are ATVOD staffers so congenitally thick that they only discovered porn at 40?

Over at Ofcom, the new boss is getting a salary for her censorious activities well in excess of the prime minister's headline pay, and maybe even better than Cameron's package including the rent of Number 10 and Chequers. The lunatics really do seem to be in charge of the asylum.

 

  Censoring and harming the interests of audiences and citizens in content services...

Ofcom consults on its plan of work to introduce further internet censorship in the coming year


Link Here 20th December 2014
Ofcom logo in 2014 Ofcom has played its part in a massive step up in internet censorship British adult websites. It has enthusiastically enforced the totally unviable age verification rules that have crucified British internet businesses involved in the adult video trade. It has embraced discriminatory new rules banning depictions of women enjoying sex and it has declared war on kinksters who enjoy the likes of spanking  and BDSM.

Now it is consulting on an ominous new extension of internet censorship that the government refer to as developing a common framework for media standards. Presumably this means that they are seeking to apply TV standards to the internet.

In what surely must be a gigantic disconnect with the basics of the English language, Ofcom ludicrously write that their repressive censorial nastiness is somehow beneficial. And Ofcom describe their work plan for the coming year in classic Orwellian doublespeak:

Protecting and promoting the interests of audiences and citizens in content services

Protecting audiences from potentially harmful content remains a priority for Ofcom. Next year, Ofcom will continue to work with other groups to promote the safety of audiences online. This includes working with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to protect children and supporting the Government in developing a common framework for media standards.

Update: More proactive monitoring

29th December 2014.

Another worrying idea to extended censorship is:

Ensure content complies with broadcasting rules by taking a new targeted approach to our enforcement activities for TV broadcasters...Extending monitoring of TV content to detect content which raises issues of potential audience harm, particularly of channels about which we receive few or no complaints;

 

 Offsite Article: Squirt alert...


Link Here 19th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
squirt alert game The terms in this specific porn ban are pretty ridiculous to say the least and outright sexist, so we made this Android game to show how we felt about that.

See article from mikandi.com

 

 Update: Nick Clegg champions people's 'exotic' sexual kicks...

Whilst David Cameron confirms that he is a miserable censorial prat


Link Here 16th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
nick clegg Nick Clegg has slammed new porn laws which outlaws British websites from hosting supposedly harmful bedroom acts between consenting adults

Nick Clegg today warned prudish David Cameron to keep his nose out of people's exotic bedroom habits. He said:

The Government is not there to stick its nose in the bedroom, as long as people are not doing things which are illegal. It's not really for us to judge how people get their kicks.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, Clegg made clear the face sitting porn protestors have his support:

In a free society, people should be free to do things that many people might find exotic, at mildest, or deeply unappetising at worst. It's their freedom to do so.

But Cameron made clear last week he backs the repressive and business destroying new laws. He told a conference in London:

I feel that it's very important. In Britain we have rules about how you can buy pornography in the shop. I believe we should try and make sure you apply those rules when you buy pornography online.

The PM said it was part of a broader principle that the same laws should apply online as on the high street. Of course it never occurred to him to achieve this by freeing up  the ridiculous prohibitions inflicted on high street stores. Cameron spouted further: 

We're trying to make sure that when something is a crime, it is prosecuted and convicted wherever it takes place. My view is that should happen whether it's online or offline. We should try and apply the same rule whether you're visiting a shop in a high street or visiting a store on the internet.

 

  Extreme Oppression...

Christians and Secularists join forces to point out the nastiness that will surely be enabled by Extremist Disruption Orders


Link Here 15th December 2014
Theresa May Anyone who criticises same-sex marriage or Sharia law could be branded an extremist under proposed new powers, Christians and atheists have jointly warned.

The fresh expression of concern comes from The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society who have raised fears over planned Extremist Disruption Orders (EDOs), recently outlined by Home Secretary Theresa May.

EDOs, which are designed to counter Islamic extremism, have been described as a threat to free speech and reminiscent of Tony Blair's notorious religious hatred Bill. Opinion

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, cautioned that Christians who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism. He said:

Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn't regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic State or Boko Haram.

Speaking to The Telegraph Online Keith Porteous Wood, Director of the National Secular Society, warned that secularists might be branded Islamophobic and racist because of their campaigns against the rise of Sharia law. He said:

A much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremist Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties.

 

 Offsite Comment: Can We Stop Being Judgemental About People's Sex Lives...


Link Here 15th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
Intimate Games DVD Tudor Gates There seems to be a tired, frustrating belief in British culture that sex is something that needs to be kept indoors and not talked about, especially if you're a politician or public figure. By Frances Black

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

 Update: Life can be fine if we sit on our faces in all sorts of places...

Lively and colourful protest outside parliament over government internet censorship decree


Link Here 12th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
atvod taking piss The Guardian reported:

Sex workers and campaigners have gathered in front of parliament to protest against changes to UK pornography regulations.

Protesters chanted: What do we want? Face-sitting! When do we want it? Now! They say the list of banned activities includes face-sitting , and campaigners carried out a mass demonstration of this while singing the Monty Python song Sit On My Face.

Organiser Charlotte Rose called the restrictions ludicrous and said they were a threat to freedom of expression.

These activities were added to this list without the public being made aware, Charlotte Rose said. They've done this without public knowledge and without public consent.

There are activities on that list that may be deemed sexist, but it's not just about sexism, it's about censorship. What the government is doing is taking our personal liberties away without our permissions.

facesitting protest Mistress Absolute, a professional dominatrix and fetish promoter, said the law was restrictive:

I felt that this was the beginning of something to creep into my sexual freedom and sexual preferences.

Neil Rushton said:

They're very sexist laws. These are very geared towards women's enjoyment as opposed to men's.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Jerry Barnett from Sex and Censorship and Jane Fae from the Consenting Adult Action Network were among those making speeches at the protest. Fae called the changes heteronormative , and said:

What is being clamped down on is any kind of online content made by adults who are consenting.

I organised today's mass face-sitting outside Parliament because I'm not willing to give up my sexual liberties

12th December 2014. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Charlotte Rose

charlotte-rose Draconian new pornography restrictions are an attack on our freedom, so it's time to sit down and be counted

I can hear the laughter now. A mass face-sitting outside Britain's parliament: are they serious?

The answer, for anyone who dares think otherwise is: absolutely. Yes. For the new anti-porn regulations censor people without consent. Nobody has the right to take away peoples personal liberties or personal choice.

If we don't speak out now, more and more amendments are going to be added to existing laws taking our personal rights away.

...Read the full article

 

 Updated: Gallant MPs...

Early Day Motion calls for the annulment of the Government's internet censorship decree


Link Here 12th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

House of Commons logo Early day motion 605

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 (S.I., 2014, No. 2916), dated 4 November 2014, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6 November, be annulled.

Primary sponsor: Julian Huppert
Sponsors: John Leech and Mike Hancock

Update: 2 more gallant liberals

12th December 2014.

Andrew George (St. Ives) and David Ward (Bradford East) are Lib Dems who have joined the role call of honour.

Update: Julian Huppert gets a positive write up in the Daily Mail

julian-huppert 12th December 2014. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail writes:

Spanking and whipping should not be banned in British-made online porn videos, Lib Dem MPs have demanded. Backbench MP Julian Huppert attacked rules revealed last week which ban a host of erotic acts considered harmful by ministers.

The new laws aim to bring video-on-demand online porn into line with videos sold in licensed sex shops. It means around 10 acts - ranging from spanking to strangulation, aggressive whipping and being tied up -- are now banned from web porn sold in the UK.

Mr Huppert has tabled a Commons motion calling for the new rules -- laid down in the Audiovisual Media Services Regulation 2014 -- to be annulled. He said:

The new rules mean that all video-on-demand services that originate from the UK can't show various acts, such as spanking.

It seems to me to be very odd to say that this - assuming it is consensual - is acceptable for somebody to do in their own home, for them to photograph it, film it, but not to look at it online if it comes from the UK.

To me the case for banning things should be driven by issues around consent, and around genuine risk, not about whether we happen to like things or not.

 

 Update: Orwellian Control...

A worrying snippet about US website refusing UK debits cards


Link Here 9th December 2014
clips4sale logo A blog post from a UK fetish website provides an interesting but unverified snippet warning of future oppressive control freakery:

It seems the clips4sale saga has taken another twist as they have rapidly put in a solution in place in almost blind panic after many months of pushing it under the bed.

UK customers no longer can use their debit cards to buy clips in c4s stores without registering with the UK government for permission. When I asked them for details of whom to register with or provide a source for this information they well unable to provide further details.

As a UK customer you can buy clips either using a credit card or using the virtual currency "clip cash" or one of these mythical government approved debit cards to buy clips directly.

Of course you still can't sell banned content through them from the UK.

 

 Updated: The government gets a caning...

Gathered comments on the new law introducing internet porn censorship in the UK


Link Here 9th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

New powers to censor digital media are a threat to free expression

backlash logo 3rd December 2014.See article from backlash-uk.org.uk

British digital media producers are now subject to some of the most severe content restrictions in Europe. The regulations will shut down websites and criminalise producers of content that remains legal to produce throughout the European Union. This will have a chilling effect on freedom of sexual expression in the UK. It also makes British media uncompetitive within the EU. This will lead to job cuts and lost revenue for the Treasury.

The government’s new porn laws are arbitrary and sexist

newstatesman logo 3rd December 2014. See  article from  newstatesman.com by Lauren Razavi

In a hopeless government attempt to control what Britons get off on, new rules regulating the UK porn industry have come into force this week. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 imposes restrictions on the content of pornography made and sold within the UK -- and it does so with a perplexing ignorance about the realities of modern technology.

British porn producers and consumers will now be subject to some of the harshest restrictions anywhere in Europe, with speculation that this is only the beginning. Video-on-demand content produced or sold in the UK is no longer permitted to show a vague and arbitrary list of explicit acts.

BDSM's Section 28

strange things are happening banner logo 2nd December 2014. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by David Flint

So what is the point of the new law, then? Are the government so naive as to think that forcing onerous new rules on the rapidly dwindling number of British based porn sites will make any difference to teenagers accessing hardcore? It seems unlikely. But then, in reality, this was never really about preventing children from accessing adult material. Rather, this seems the first step of a cunning plan. First of all, kill of the British industry by regulating it out of existence. Then, when there are rules in place about what is or isn't legal within the UK, it becomes easier to strangle access to foreign sites. ATVOD are already pushing to stop card payments to foreign sites that don't follow their rules (i.e. all of them). The next step after that will be legally enforced blocks, similar to those imposed on file sharing sites.

Government cracks down on Fifty Shades of Grey style sex acts in online porn videos because it's harmful

Daily Mail logo 3rd December 2014.See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail surprisingly hasn't supported the government censors. Its piece, borrowing heavily from a Guardian article, seemed to mock the arbitrary moralistic R18 guidelines and gave space to the point that Women's Fifty Shades of Grey pleasures would take a knock by the new law. And the Daily Mail didn't even bother with any sound bites from the miserablists of Mediawatch-UK and the like. The piece included the following comments:

Jerry Barnett, founder of anti-censorship campaign Sex And Censorship, told Vice News:

R18 is a strange thing. It's a set of weird and arbitrary censorship rules decided between the BBFC, the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules - they're simply a set of moral judgments designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography.

Erotic film director Erika Lust told the Independent:

With this legislation, the UK is in danger of finding itself back in an age where porn is simply the boring, unrealistic, male fantasy of bimbos eagerly pleasing men as if it is their duty, where women are submissive and lack ownership of their sexuality. Women in the industry will now fear the loss of their livelihoods as well as their sexual independence.

Spanking and caning - just two of the sexual acts now banned in British porn films

Telegraph logo 2nd December 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Not a very convincing piece in the Telegraph but it did throw in the fact that the government know exactly how this will screw adult companies in Britain:

In its analysis of the new regulation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recognised that the new system might lead to some loss of British business. A report noted:

Restricting access to R18 material may lead to businesses moving outside of UK's jurisdiction in order to avoid regulation. Nevertheless, there is public value in ensuring that there is consistency for regulation across platforms so that UK based VOD firms are compliant with the UK's views on harmful content.

DCMS also noted that small businesses might be particularly hard hit by the new rules:

There are a number of small and medium sized firms among the UK-based suppliers of R18 content which may be affected by this measure

View from America: United Kingdom Ramps Up War on Porn and Women's Sexuality

avn logo 5th December 2014. See  article from  business.avn.com

At first glance, the news out of the United Kingdom appears like something The Onion might concoct to lampoon the nation's recent devolution into what everyone thought was a bygone sexual morality. But no; like a nightmare from which one cannot awaken, the government quietly enacted new regulations that went into effect Dec. 1, 2014 banning certain sex acts from being produced and sold in the U.K.

Even the Guardian's high priestesses of PC are unimpressed: I'm no fan of the porno-industrial complex but these new rules are unworkable

The Guardian 5th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.co by Suzanne Moore

Increasingly, we see legislation made in some archaic vacuum where the internet does not exist. Furthermore, many of these now-censored activities are to do with female pleasure and the activities of dominatrices. Why is it OK to show a male ejaculation but not a female one? What are the qualifications of those who cobble together these rules?

And the Guardian isn't impressed with the law from a science perspective

The Guardian 6th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com by Dean Burnett

One of the more controversial things banned is female ejaculation. Female ejaculation is a weirdly controversial subject but science doesn't deny that it's a real thing. Many have cited the ban on female ejaculation as a clear demonstration of the sexist nature of the new rules (especially as it's fine to show male ejaculate, and even people eating it). But the BBFC, responsible for enforcing these rules, say the ban is a reflection of the fact that pornographers claim they're showing female ejaculation when they are in fact showing urination.

Showing urination in sex, water sports , has long been banned in British pornography. This appears to be a cultural consensus rather than a scientific one. Despite the myth that urine is sterile so good for cleaning wounds, this is not the case, so urinating on someone could lead to infection. But then, this is true of any fluid produced by humans, many of which are expressed in pornography but not restricted in this manner.

And the Guardian isn't impressed with the law from a feminist perspective

The Guardian 6th December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com by Zoe Williams

The conformity that it's imposing is to the worst model of porn. It specifically targets and bans acts that are associated with feminist and fetish porn. Pandora Blake, over welsh rarebit and eggs, was explaining to me the new porn laws. They aren't new, exactly -- it's just a new way of regulating online pornographers, via ATVOD (the Authority for Television and Video on Demand) so that they have to comply with the rules for pornography on DVD.

The UK's sexist new pornography restrictions aren't just an act of state censorship, but could be the first step towards something even worse

The Independent 7th December 2014. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Myles Jackman (Obscenity lawyer)

It's not just the depiction of certain sex acts which is under attack --- our freedom is too

As you might have already heard, an act of state censorship has been declared against British pornography in the guise of innocuous regulation. But what you might not know is that it has also marked the first stage in a campaign to impose global trade sanctions. Strangely, this proposition has received less coverage.

The current discussion around these regulations has focused on the absurd restrictions which are being imposed on pornography. For example, male ejaculation is acceptable to shoot; but its female equivalent is absolutely beyond the pale. Bang out of order. It might be urine. We're not sure. Probably best to ban it.

However, ignoring the inherent sexism of this proposition, it is actually the framework in which these regulations have been allowed to emerge that is of greatest concern to all forms of freedom of expression.

Online porn restrictions will lead to UK exodus'

portland tv logo 8th December 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

Legislation that censors online porn on UK websites will massively disadvantage the UK industry, according to a leading adult broadcaster.Chris Ratcliff of Portland TV said the industry was already disadvantaged compared to overseas competitors. The result, he predicted, would be an exodus of companies out of the UK :

What it does is take out big swathes of material that, albeit on the fringes, are still very popular in this territory and globally.

The big challenge we face operating in the regulated UK sector is the complete lack of parity between us and the unregulated offshore sector, said Ratcliff, whose company operates Fantasy TV and many of the babe channels. Improved age verification tools, he added, are a more effective means of protecting minors from inappropriate material than the tightening-up of regulation in respect to content strength - a move he said was a mistake.

The regulation of pornography on video-on-demand in the United Kingdom

9th December 2014. See  article from  tandfonline.com by Julian Petley

porn studies This article demonstrates in detail how the British government, the Office of Communications and The Authority for Television on Demand have interpreted the requirement in the European Union's Audio Visual Media Services Directive that any material on video-on-demand services which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors must be made available only in a way that ensures minors will not normally hear or see it. By EU standards, the approach adopted has been a strict one, raising questions about whether the UK authorities have gone beyond the requirements of the Directive, and thus whether their policies need underpinning by new legislation at the national level. This in turn poses further questions about the desirability of such legislation, its compatibility with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the advisability of driving abroad the providers of adult on-demand services, and the practicability of attempting to regulate transnational media traffic in an increasingly online world where standards of acceptability vary widely from one country to another.

 

 Update: Small Business Saturday...

The Government chips in by killing an entire industry of small adult internet businesses (without even having the decency to ask parliament first)


Link Here 6th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

mistress whiplash logo The whiplash backlash: it's not as if we're hurting anyone (else)

A new law will outlaw video-on-demand websites which showcase certain sexual practices. Jamie Merrill meets the practitioners with livelihoods on the line

From her secluded studio in Hampshire, Nikki has been running her online business for 15 years. A successful local businesswoman, until this week she would give work to up to 30 different models, actors and actresses.

Few of her neighbours will have known her speciality though; she produces pornographic videos of face sitting and female domination.

Following a change in the law, Nikki, who is professionally known as Mistress Whiplash, has had to close six of her video-on-demand websites after the new rules made her business model unprofitable.

She used to charge visitors to her websites up to £30 to view her niche videos, which she insists are consenting , legal and helping to reduce the stigma for people who have different kinks in society.

Nikki, 30, is not alone. She is one of dozens of small British pornographers who have hit out against a change in the law which means niche paid-for online pornography of unusual fetishes is now regulated in the same way as traditional DVDs bought in sex shops.

...Read the full article

 

 Commented: The Truth about the Porn Law Changes...

The BBFC and police impose some downright stupid porn censorship rules, but not quite as broad as the list being quoted in the press


Link Here 5th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

BBFC logo On 1 December, the Communications Act 2003 was amended. The regulation of R18 pornographic content available on-demand in the UK will henceforth be subject to the same standards as those applied to pornography on DVD by the British Board of Film Classification, where I am a senior examiner. The amendment applies to those works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation, with the R18 category being a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex, or strong fetish material involving adults.

While some non-pornographic films may contain material which raises issues comparable with those which might be found in sex works, and which may also be subject to cuts -- such as scenes of sexual violence -- there is no direct crossover between the standards for sex works and those applied to non-pornographic films.

Underpinning the BBFC guidelines is a specific requirement for the Video Recordings Act to have special regard to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers, or, through their behaviour, to society. This means that, before classifying a work, the BBFC may cut certain acts in pornographic works where imitation or the influencing of attitudes is a particular concern. Breath restriction is one such example. It would be wrong to assume that the BBFC consequently cuts all sight of people sitting across other people's faces. But the BBFC will cut sight of clear and deliberate restriction of a person's ability to breathe during sexual play. Breath restriction for the purposes of sexual enjoyment can result in death. Given such a clear and well-documented risk of harm, passing such breath play in a sex work would be contrary to the BBFC's designated responsibility.

The BBFC also intervenes where material risks prosecution under UK law. This includes prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. Indeed, the BBFC's designation under the Video Recordings Act requires that it does not pass any content in breach of UK law. We regularly consult both the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan police to understand and keep up to date with the types of content which are subject to prosecution and conviction. Consequently, we may not classify any material which may be subject to prosecution. Among other activities, this includes any repeated focus on urination during sex and urination over any other person, including any act which cannot be distinguished from urination on the basis of the onscreen evidence alone.

It has recently been suggested that the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations will lead to several acts now being banned from UK on-demand services, including spanking and verbal abuse. Much of this information is inaccurate, some of it is wrong. In judging material which may or may not be allowed under BBFC Guidelines, it is often unhelpful to speak hypothetically and in generalisations when specifics of context and potential harm in a given situation are among the considerations which really matter. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations will ensure that UK on-demand content is consistent with legally available pornography off-line, benefiting from the application of UK law and the expert legal and medical advice which informs BBFC decisions.

Comment: 10 questions for the BBFC about R18 porn rules

5th December 2014. See article from strangethingsarehappening.com by David Flint

strange things are happening banner logo That so many people are appalled by these rules seems to have rather shaken the BBFC. After all, they pride themselves on their feminist credentials, and consider many of the acts and images they forbid as acts of sexual violence, mostly against women. To be told that they are being sexist and patriarchal by banning spanking movies must genuinely baffle them.

...Read the full article

Comment: Carry on censor Who decides what is too shocking for us to see?

5th December 2014. See article from eyeforfilm.co.uk by Jane Fae

eye for film logo It has been suggested in the past that the BBFC simply ask the public on these topics [obscenity rules]. After all, if the test of obscenity is what a majority of people consider to be obscene, then this is one area where opinion polling could be helpful. What is interesting about the culture at the BBFC is that when such suggestions have been made, the BBFC has reacted with superior amusement -- incredulity even.

What do you mean? Actually ask the public what they think on a matter where the public are the final arbiter.? What an extraordinary idea!

...Read the full article

 

 Petitions: Remove Regulations for Video on Demand Pornography...

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only one month, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people


Link Here 5th December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

remove regulations for vod porn Sexist, archaic and damaging. This amendment to the communications act (2003) was rushed through parliament to take away the rights British people have on the internet.

Since 1/12/14, The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the BBFC.

This includes the likes of: Spanking, Caning, Penetration by any object associated with violence , Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), Watersports, Female ejaculation, Facesitting, Fisting.

The regulations make NO distinction between consensual and non-consensual acts.

They treat female ejaculation as a myth (and more unsafe/disgusting than male ejaculation).

This is one further attempt to censor the internet, as with David Cameron's plan to force ISPs to filter pornography.

They will damage smaller, independent film makers and producers, where as huge pornography companies will be left comparatively unscathed, causing a loss of british jobs as independent film makers are forced overseas.

Uneccesary censorship, patriarchal behaviour is all too often the path our government takes. We have 50 shades of grey out in the CINEMA in february, yet we're not allowed to watch a real equivalent made by British people. The government have no right to dictate what a responsible adult does for work, or what they look at on the internet.

We call for a complete removal of this amendment, underhandedly rushed through parliament in only ONE MONTH, which is inherently sexist, insulting and damaging to many British people.

Sign the petition

Petition: Bound-by-law. Against sexually repressive legislation.

4th December 2014. See petition from you.38degrees.org.uk (607 signatures on 4th December)

keep ypur filthy hands off me To: Sajid Javid MP - Minister for censorship culture

Reverse the recent ban on a variety of sexual acts being depicted in UK content. They breach the freedoms and civil rights of consenting adults who participate in the sexual acts as listed below, and have duly signed their legal agreement to such participation of their own free will.

Why is this important?

Recently the government and the BBFC banned a list of sexual acts, which mainly appear to take aim at female pleasure, from appearing in UK pornography. The government are arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex.

There are greater acts of violence in mainstream movies, as indeed there are also acts of a sexual nature, and some of which are extreme. Are the government also intent on banning the multi-billion dollar Hollywood movie industry from showing such films to a British audience?

I certainly don't recall being consulted about this back-door sexual repression policy by my MP! Yet it affects me, as it does every other adult, here in the UK.

We must NOT be denied the right to choose for ourselves with regard to what do watch and what we do, and just because I happen to view a female ejaculate , for instance, what does it matter?

They banned: Spanking Caning Aggressive whipping Penetration by any object associated with violence Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual) Urolagnia (known as water sports ) Female ejaculation Strangulation Facesitting Fisting

Sign the petition

Petition: Repeal new anti-porn legislation

5th December 2014. See petition from submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk   (874 signatures on 5th December)

hm government e-petitions4 logo Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 came into force on December 1st, restricting UK production of online pornography which depicts spanking, caning, facesitting, female ejaculation, fisting, bondage, and other acts legal to perform between consenting adults. We want this legislation repealed.

The list of banned activities is transparently sexist: depictions of irrumatio (forceful fellatio) are explicitly permitted, but facesitting (even fully clothed) is banned. Similarly, male ejaculation on a partner is explicitly permitted, but female ejaculation on a partner is banned.

In addition, these restrictions will cripple small independent UK businesses producing niche pornographic content, while favouring large companies producing mainstream content. They will also benefit foreign companies producing content which is now illegal to produce in the UK, but still legal for UK customers to purchase and view online.

Sign the petition

 

 Updated: The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014...

A new government law to crucify British adult websites has come into force today


Link Here 1st December 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
arms of the british governmentjpg logo The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship that was implemented in UK law in the Communications Act 2003:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.

Unfortunately for the censorial government, there is no particular evidence that hardcore porn seriously impairs children. In fact all the kids are already watching porn and they don't seem to be ending up being seriously harmed, at least any more than any other generation.

So the legal underpinning for ATVOD's onerous suffocating age verification rules for British adult websites seems somewhat shaky and open to challenge. Therefore the government are changing the law so as to explicitly make age verification a requirement without having to rely on mythical serious harm. The government has introduced the following statutory instrument which means that it will not be debated in parliament, just nodded through.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014

These Regulations may be cited as the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014.

  • Laid before Parliament on 6th November 2014

  • Coming into force on 1st December 2014.

Amendment of section 368E of the 2003 Act (harmful material) .

In section 368E(4) of the 2003 Act (harmful material), for subsection (2) substitute:

(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.

(3) Prohibited material means:

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

(5) Specially restricted material means:

  • (a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18classification certificate,
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18classification certificate, or
  • (c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.

(6) In determining whether any material falls within subsection (3)(b) or (5)(b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

(7) In this section:

  • the 1984 Act means the Video Recordings Act 1984;
  • classification certificate has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 7 of that Act);
  • R18 classification certificate means a classification certificate containing the statement mentioned in section 7(2)(c) of the 1984 Act that no video recording containing the video work is to be supplied other than in a licensed sex shop;
  • the video works authority [BBFC] means the person or persons designated under section 4(1)of the 1984 Act as the authority responsible for making arrangements in respect of video works other than video games; video work has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 1(2) of that Act).

Amendment of section 368B of the 2003 Act (supply of information)

Insert:

(d) OFCOM may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of OFCOM as the appropriate regulatory authority;

(e) a designated body may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of the designated body as the appropriate regulatory authority.

[This looks like a measure to stop the BBFC effectively changing the law by changing its own guidelines. It looks like Ofcom and ATVOD will be able to step in should the BBFC change its rules].

BBFC R18 Guidelines

For reference the current BBFC Guidelines for R18 takes the form of a list of material prohibited from R18:

The following is a list of prohibited material:

  • material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
  • the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
  • the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
  • penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
  • sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.
  • Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed

CPS Obscenity Guidelines

Of course the guidelines don't fully define what is 'judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959', but the CPS does offer some guidance. See charging practice from cps.gov.uk :

It is impossible to define all types of activity which may be suitable for prosecution. The following is not an exhaustive list but indicates the categories of material most commonly prosecuted:

  • sexual act with an animal
  • realistic portrayals of rape
  • sadomasochistic material which goes beyond trifling and transient infliction of injury
  • torture with instruments
  • bondage (especially where gags are used with no apparent means of withdrawing consent)
  • dismemberment or graphic mutilation
  • activities involving perversion or degradation (such as drinking urine, urination or vomiting on to the body, or excretion or use of excreta)
  • fisting

The Guidelines are still insufficient for VoD providers to judge the legality of their catalogue

The most immediate issue with the new law is how commonplace 'rough sex' will be treated. There are many films that suffer a few cuts for hair pulling, gagging, retching, spitting etc. Will a film that would be R18 after a few cuts now become illegal? If so, there are thousands of them. It is not clear how these cuts correlate to the guidelines. The guidelines are clearly produced for interpretation by the BBFC rather than the public and will effectively leave VoD service providers unable to judge the legality of films without a BBFC certificate. Perhaps that is the idea. But then again it will leave British websites with a tiny fraction of the range of choice to that of foreign competitors.

Comment: Scrapping red tape

letter writing 18th November 2014. From the Melon Farmers

Coincidently I got a circular emall from David Cameron yesterday claiming:

"we will carry on backing businesses by scrapping red tape, cutting taxes - and continuing to invest in the infrastructure that is vital to create jobs and enable Britain to compete successfully in the global race".

Well if Cameron considers this new law as `backing businesses` and `scrapping red tape` then Britain is doooomed.

 

  Consensual Spanner Beatings...

The Law Commission has started a review of the Offences against the Person Act. Jane Fae asks how will this impact consensual harm in a BDSM context?


Link Here 1st December 2014
Law Commission logo The Law Commission writes about a review of Offences against the Person:

Our scoping consultation on this project is now open until 11 February 2015. The Ministry of Justice has asked the Commission to carry out a scoping exercise as a first step towards a potential project to reform the law on offences against the person

Jane Fae reports on some of the possibilities of such reforms on the BDSM community:

Of course, what they don't mention is the central role this Act has played in shaping the legal landscape in respect of BDSM. For it was under the OAPA that the landmark Spanner case was prosecuted in the 1990s: and despite contrary rulings, it is this verdict that continues to dictate the limits to consensual sex.

Incredible as it may seem to those who have grown up post-Spanner, there was a once-upon-a-time golden age when the prevailing assumption was that pain, inflicted consensually and in pursuit of mutually satisfying erotic outcomes was permissible. That was not an unreasonable point of view. After all, you could -- you may still -- beat an opponent senseless in a boxing ring and, providing all is done in accordance with the rules, and consensually, there is no problem.

Why should a beating of a sexual nature be any different?

...Read the interesting article

 

 Update: Snooper's Charter Extended...

Government introduces new law to extend detailed logs of internet usage to mobile phones and tablets


Link Here 23rd November 2014  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Theresa May Police are to get powers to force internet firms to hand over details linked to IP addresses in order to help them help snoop on people's internet use.

The anti-terrorism and security bill will oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to individual subscribers.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said the measure would boost national security, but again complained that Liberal Democrats were blocking further steps.

Loss of the capabilities on which we have always relied is the great danger we face, May said. The bill provides the opportunity to resolve the very real problems that exist around IP resolution and is a step in the right direction towards bridging the overall communications data capability gap.

However, the Lib Dems insisted that the communications data bill -- branded the snooper's charter -- was dead and buried . The party also stressed that the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, had been calling for the IP measures since spring 2013.

The technical details are either sparse or misleading, maybe deliberately. Home and mobile broadband users have obviously had their IP address recorded and logged for sometime along with logs of messages and websites visited. I believe that the bill is targeted at internet access on mobile phones where an IP address is shared by many users simultaneously without retaining detailed user records per IP message.

The Register obtained a slightly getter explanation from the Home Office:

Home Offie logo Every internet user is assigned an IP address to ensure communication service providers know which data should go to which customer and routes it accordingly. Addresses are sometimes assigned to a specific device, such as a broadband router located in a home or company. But they are usually shared between multiple users and allocated randomly by the provider's automated systems.

Many providers currently have no business reason for keeping a log of who has used each address. It is therefore not always possible for law enforcement agencies accessing the data to identify who was using an IP address at any particular time.

Such communications data is a vital tool in the investigation of terrorist and criminal activity, and significantly contributes to the conviction of child sex offenders.

The inability to link IP addresses to individuals poses serious challenges for law enforcement agencies. The proposed measures would reduce the risk of terrorism by improving the ability of the police and other agencies to identify terror suspects who may be communicating with each other via the internet.

It would also help to identify and prosecute organised criminals; cyber bullies and computer hackers; and protect vulnerable people. For example, it can be used to identify a child who has threatened over social media to commit suicide.

This legislation will not however address all the capability gaps that the Draft Communications Data Bill aimed to fill. These gaps will continue to have a serious impact on law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, the provisions will not enable the retention of weblogs -- a record of information relating to a communication between a user and the internet, including a record of websites that have been visited.

Update: Retaining MAC addresses

27th November 2014. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill amends the definition of relevant communications data that Internet providers are required to retain. The apparent intention is to ensure that Internet providers retain IP port numbers or machine MAC addresses when these are necessary to distinguish users, such as when the network is employing Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN).

 

  Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013 - 15...

The extension of the Dangerous Pictures Act to cover rape porn nears completion


Link Here 23rd November 2014
Houses of Parliament The new clause extending the Dangerous Pictures Act to cover rape porn has passed through the House of Lords. The next step is the Ping Pong stage where the House of Commons debates House of Lords amendments which do not effect the Dangerous Pictures clauses. This stage will occur on 1st December 2014.

The existing Dangerous Pictures Act may be summarised:

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Section 63 Possession of extreme pornographic images:

It is an offence for a person to be in possession of an extreme pornographic image.

An extreme pornographic image is an image which meets all of the following three definitions

  1. is pornographic , ie it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.
     
  2. is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.
     
  3. it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, any of the following---
  • (a) an act which threatens a person's life,
  • (b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals,
  • (c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or
  • (d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive), and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will extend the list. The list of image types above, ie life threatening act, serious injury, necrophilia, or bestiality is extended by:

37 Possession of pornographic images of rape and assault by penetration

(7A) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following---

(a) an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person's vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person's penis, or

(b) an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person's vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person's body or anything else,

and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that 30the persons were real.

(7B) For the purposes of subsection (7A)---

(a) penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;

(b) vagina includes vulva.

The new clause will apply only in England and Wales. Scotland has its own version of the Dangerous Pictures Act that already includes rape porn. Northern Ireland seems to have been omitted, maybe it will enact its own version later.

 

 Updated: Ban Everything!...

David Cameron calls for more internet censorship of 'extremist' material. And no doubt the authorities will define 'extremist' as meaning more or less everything


Link Here 16th November 2014  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
David Cameron David Cameron has called for governments around the world to do more to censor 'extremist' material online. He made his comments during a visit to Australia's Parliament. He said:

The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. A new and pressing challenge is getting extremist material taken down from the Internet. There is a role for government in that. We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space. But there is a role for companies too.

Cameron then went on to detail measures already being taken in the UK to combat online extremism, including adding supposedly extremists material to ISP blocking lists, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down supposedly harmful material.

The British government also recently revealed plans to reduce the amount of hate material online. However, a report released in May revealed that the proposal is experiencing a number of hurdles, including opposition from ISPs and social networks, particularly those based outside the UK.

Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that ISPs will add extremist websites to filters designed to protect children from seeing adult content. Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group said:

We need transparency whenever political content is blocked even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.

Given the low uptake of filters, it is difficult to see how effective the government's approach will be when it comes to preventing young people from seeing material they have deemed inappropriate. Anyone with an interest in extremist views can surely find ways of circumventing child friendly filters

Update: Censorship button

16th November 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, Downing Street has said. The ISPs had committed to strengthening their filters and adding a public reporting button to flag terrorism-related material. In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content. It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

However, the BBC understands that while the ISPs agreed in principle to do more to prevent extremism, they have not actually committed to the measures outlined by No 10.

We have had productive dialogue with government about addressing the issue of extremist content online and we are working through the technical details, a spokeswoman for BT said. A spokesman for Sky said: We're exploring ways in which we can help our customers report extremist content online, including hosting links on our website. The plan presents logistical problems as extremist groups such as Isis typically use channels like YouTube or Twitter that are popular for entirely legal purposes.

 

 Commented: Losing Touch...

Theresa May puts a little police overtime ahead of decent phone connections for Britain


Link Here 10th November 2014
Theresa May Theresa May has ludicrously opposed Sajid Javid's phone plan for all phones users to be able to use the best network signal available.

The culture secretary's project to massively reduce issues of poor network coverage spots for users of a single network.

A leaked letter suggests that Theresa May is moving to stop plans to improve mobile phone coverage, amid fears that state snoopers may have to work a little harder to track phone users over several networks instead of one.

May's objections centre around concerns that roaming would make it more difficult for the snoopers to track suspects. She also reportedly objected to the likes of Tesco offering customers mobile phone packages with access to the four main networks, called for studies to ensure the changes do not prevent police from having access to information that is crucial to keeping us safe .

The intervention by May is likely to revive criticism that she often acts in an uncollegiate way, a point made by the Liberal Democrat home office minister Norman Baker when he resigned this week. May's letter may also be seized on by civil liberties campaigners who say she appears not to challenge the views of the intelligence agencies.

Offsite Comment: Theresa May and her worrying enthusiasm for so-called not-spots

10th November 2014. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by David Mitchell

Thinking About Only Makes Worse The home secretary's argument that not being able to get a phone signal is in the interests of national security is truly disturbing

...Read the full article

 

  Verify...

Government announces an Online ID Card scheme


Link Here 6th November 2014
identity proofing An Online ID card will be launched in the UK next month. The scheme is initially targetted for transaction with government agencies such as the tax office and the DVLA.

The Government was a bit too quick to deny it was bringing in ID cards by the back door after it revealed plans to offer everyone a virtual ID. Government aides claimed in a rather circular argument that rather than bringing in ID cards by a different method the scheme would make any attempt to reintroduce a compulsory document less likely:

This removes once and for all the need for an identity card because it will be possible to prove your identity securely without one.

More than half a million people are expected to sign up to use the Verify project within a year. Under the programme, users will choose one of five private providers -- including Experian and the Post Office -- to complete an online security check.

This will give them a username and password, as well as a code sent to their mobile phone, which will give them access to government services.

Driving licences and some self-assessment tax returns will be among the first services to be offered as part of the scheme next month, with tax credits and benefits records expected to follow in March.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, which has been involved in the scheme's development, said:

 It has to ensure that this is a scheme that the public can have full confidence in. They must make themselves very clear about how it will work, including details of what safeguards are in place to ensure that the private companies being used to verify a users identity won't wrongly gain access to any information.'

 

 Update: Government propaganda campaign against Google/Facebook encryption...

Britain's internet censors at Ofcom call for easier snooping


Link Here 5th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Ofcom logo In the wake of a GCHQ for increased internet mass snooping capabilities, Ofcom internet censors have chipped in with calls for Google and Facebook to make state snooping easier.

Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, has said technology companies such as Google and Facebook have social responsibilities. He said:

 I think it's fair to say that there are social responsibilities that come with a media that are as prevalent and significant as those social media [companies] have become.

It's absolutely right to ask what society should expect of those organisations as responsible companies with an impact on society.

At one level what he is saying is clearly right in the sense that social media are being used by all sorts of different communities, clearly including terrorist and jihadi [groups], and are part of the way that groups like that communicate.

His comments came after the new director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, called on US tech companies to do more in the fight against terrorism in the Financial Times, declaring that privacy had never been an absolute right .

Ofcom's chair, Patricia Hodgson, seemed to suggest that snooping wasn't just targetted at terrorism but even down to supposed crimes such as extreme pornography. She said:

It's certainly the case that there has been a struggle to keep up with this shift [in] the use of social media, the most extreme abuses of it, for terrorism or illegal pornography.

There are obviously arrangements whereby the government can categorise material [relating to terrorism or illegal pornography] and issue take-down notices.

But there were very great difficulties where that material is on the cusp, that doesn't fall very clearly under those arrangements.

The chair and chief executive of Ofcom were giving evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday as part of a review of the regulator's work.

 

 Offsite Article: Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded extremists under Tory plans...


Link Here 1st November 2014
Telegraph logo Atheists and Christians warn about the New Extremism Disruption Orders. And if you think the authorities can be trusted to be reasonable then just take a look at the Tiger Porn case.

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Updated: Government creating new laws to suffocate British businesses selling to adults...

When will politicians ever do anything useful, like funding a convenient and free age verification system that businesses will then be keen to use?


Link Here 31st October 2014  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn

DCMS logo Porn websites will be forced to check users are over 18 under a new crackdown to stop children accessing explicit material.

Mobile phone companies and credit card firms will have to ensure that someone proves they are aged 18 or over before being given access to adult websites.

Now it has emerged that plans are being drawn up to force adult websites to carry out checks on the age of users. It would cover pornography sites, as well as those selling guns and other age-restricted material, the Sunday Times reported.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working on the plans with Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom, who oversees regulation of the banking system.

However, the new rules would only cover UK-based websites to begin with.  It is already nearly impossible to run a British adult website due to onerous age verification rules and critics have noted that only one of the 1,266 adult websites visited from the UK in December 2013 was a service that is regulated in this country.

It seems very unlikely that these new rules will have any impact on the availability of porn to children. Even if new downloads were stopped tomorrow there's probably already enough knocking around and hard drives and memory sticks to last several lifetimes of playground swopsies. The only effect it will have is to add to the mountain of red tape, administrative costs and restrictive regulations that is impoverishing the west.

 

Offsite Comment: Why age checks on porn sites will do more harm than good

Telegraph logo 28th October 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by Martin Daubney

The Government's plan to introduce age verification checks only shows that politicians remain too scared to approach the porn problem in a meaningful manner.

...Read the full article

Update: Will the payment providers provide age verification?

31st October 2014. See  article from  business.avn.com

That tidbit of information, along with other reports indicating that PayPal and Visa will be taking part in the new scheme in addition to other approved methods of verification, suggests that one way the government ostensibly means to gain control of the internet is by pressuring processors to age-verify while simultaneously holding out the (dubious) promise of increased and officially sanctioned business.

 

 Update: Reading a bit too much into 'following' someone on Twitter...

Social media told to counter terrorist propaganda with government propaganda


Link Here 24th October 2014  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

Twitter logo Senior British executives from Twitter, Google and Facebook were summoned to Downing Street on Thursday and told to do more to take action to curb the online activities of extremists. The Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service are in talks about using court orders to ensure that ISPs immediately remove extremist propaganda.

The warning came as it transpired that Britain's most high-profile radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, had influenced the man involved in the Ottawa attack. Canadian terrorist Martin Ahmad Rouleau's Twitter account showed that he followed several radical preachers, including Choudary, who tweeted that he hoped that the Canadian attacker would be admitted to heaven.

However, Choudary said: The fact that someone follows you on Twitter does not mean you necessarily influenced him to do anything.

As part of the plans, the Government also wants to encourage social media sites to use so-called counter-speech tactics, which involves positive messages about Islam online to prevent extremists monopolising websites.

 

 Updated: Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison angry people?...

House of Lords passes new law to ban revenge porn


Link Here 23rd October 2014  full story: Revenge Porn in the UK...Government introduce new law
house of lords red logo The House of Lords has agreed unanimously to make revenge porn a criminal offence in England and Wales.

The sharing of a private sexual image of someone without their consent and to cause distress will be punishable by up to two years in prison, Justice Minister Lord Faulks said. The change to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill covers sharing of physical and online copies, and text messages.

MPs must approve the plans before they can become law.

Faulks said the disclosure of revenge porn was extremely distressing and left victims feeling humiliated and distraught . A new offence was needed to punish this pernicious practice and provide an important means of redress for victims of this cruel behaviour .

If passed into law, the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will define revenge porn as photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public .

Update: Vengeful Scotland

23rd October 2014. See  article from  scotsman.com

scottish government logo The Scottish Government's has announced that it is actively exploring the creation of a new law to tackle the growth of so-called revenge pornography.

The Scottish Government said yesterday that existing laws could be used to prosecute offenders, but the fact that new legislation is in the pipeline is recognition that a bespoke law is required.

 

 Commented: Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison ordinary people?...

Government proposed to increase the penalty for internet insult to 2 years in jail


Link Here 22nd October 2014  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Ministry of Justice logo Internet insults could lead to two years in jail under new laws, 'Justice' Secretary Chris Grayling has said. He proposes that magistrates should be able to pass serious cases on to crown courts under the new measures.

He told the Mail on Sunday quadrupling the current maximum six-month term showed his determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob

These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence.

As the terrible case of Chloe Madeley showed last week, people are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion.

This is a law to combat cruelty - and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years.

Those who subject others to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material online are currently prosecuted in magistrates' courts under the Malicious Communications Act, with a maximum prison sentence of six months. More serious cases could go to crown court under the proposals, where the maximum sentence would be extended.

The law change is to be made as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill going through Parliament.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, responded to the proposed new penalties:

Big Brother Watch logo The Justice Secretary should be focusing his efforts on incidents where real harm may be caused, not casting the net wider for anything that could be deemed offensive.

The Crown Prosecution Service and the police have completely failed to properly use the existing harassment law, which itself would address the actions of anyone who poses a serious threat.

The victims of serious abuse online, or indeed offline, do not need headline grabbing policies. They need definitive action to ensure that the police know what the law is when a compliant is made. It is that action which will keep them safe, not attempts to legally blur the line between illegal behaviour and being generally offensive.

Offsite Comment: Trolling 'is' a free-speech issue, and always has been

22nd October 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Tom Slater

Spiked logo The UK justice secretary's announcement on Sunday that the jail sentence for abusive online trolling is set to be quadrupled, from a maximum of six months to two years, should send a chill down the spine of all freedom-loving individuals. The fact that a panic over the phlegm-spitting, misspelled missives of a few keyboard warriors has laid the path for heavy-handed state intervention into our communications sets a dangerous precedent for the future of free expression online.

...Read the full article .

Note that the increase in sentences for internet insult is not actually a new addition to the bill, the repressive measure has been included from the beginning.

 

 Update: Barely Concealed Anger...

Naturists object to the wording of the proposed law targeting revenge porn


Link Here 19th October 2014
Complete Guide Nudism Naturism Naturists in Britain have written to Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary complaining that the new Revenge Porn Bill discriminates against people who practice nudism.

Naturists note that the Bill does not distinguish between pornography and nudity. The Bill states that it will be an offence to post online, or publish in hard copy, images showing genitals exposed .

However, nudists claim that Innocent full-frontal naturist photography , showing family and friends naked on a legal nudist beach, at a sun club or in a private garden, might then be deemed, in law, as pornographic .

The Ministry of Justice said the offence would cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way, or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public.

Naturist writer Rayner Otter has written to Grayling asking him to differentiate in the Bill between plain, full-frontal nudity and pornography.

Fiona Ashley, a regular contributor to the magazine H&E naturist and a member of British Naturism (BN) said:

Revenge porn is clearly abhorrent. I also find it equally abhorrent that images of naturists are classed as pornography in this poorly-conceived Bill. The intelligent mandarins of Whitehall need to do some more work on this one.

Naturist commentator, Dr James Avery, added:

The unlikely event of this Bill going through Parliament could signal a return to extreme Puritanism and censorship. That could eventually mean covering offending genitalia with fig leaves on some of the finest works of art in our galleries.

 

 Updated: Seeking Consent of Parliament...

Government publishes the details of its new law targeting revenge porn


Link Here 15th October 2014
House of Commons logo The government has published the details of a new law targeting revenge porn:

Publication of private sexual images

(1) It shall be an offence for a person to publish a private sexual image of another identifiable person without their consent where this disclosure  causes distress to the person who is the subject of the image.

(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under subsection (1) if he or she-—

(a) reasonably believed that the person who is the subject of the image had consented to its publication;

(b) reasonably believed that the publication of the image would not cause distress;

(c) reasonably believed that the image had previously been published; or

(d) did not intend to publish the image.

(3) For the purposes of this section it is immaterial who owns the copyright of the published image.

(4) An offence under this section is punishable by—

(a) on conviction on indictment, imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both);

(b) on summary conviction, imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 6 months or a fine (or both).

Update: Unintelligible law

14th October 2014. See article from publications.parliament.uk . Thanks to Therumbler

Seems to be a disgraceful government proposed amendment to turn the law into gobbledegook where people will be found guilty whatever the circumstances, whilst journalists seem to have been excused any responsibility whatever the circumstances.

Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress

(1) It is an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made---

  • (a) without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and

  • (b) with the intention of causing that individual distress.

(2) But it is not an offence for the person to disclose the photograph or film to the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he or she reasonably believed that the disclosure was necessary for the purposes of preventing, detecting or investigating crime.

(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that---

  • (a) the disclosure was made in the course of, or with a view to, the publication of journalistic material, and

  • (b) he or she reasonably believed that, in the particular circumstances, the publication of the journalistic material was, or would be, in the public interest.

(5) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that---

  • (a) he or she reasonably believed that the photograph or film had previously been disclosed for reward, whether by the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b) or another person, and

  • (b) he or she had no reason to believe that the previous disclosure for reward was made without the consent of the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(6) A person is taken to have shown the matters mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) if---

  • (a) sufficient evidence of the matters is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it, and

  • (b) the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(7) For the purposes of subsections (1) to (5)---

  • (a) consent to a disclosure includes general consent covering the disclosure, as well as consent to the particular disclosure, and

  • (b) publication of journalistic material means disclosure to the public.

(8) A person charged with an offence under this section is not to be taken to have disclosed a photograph or film with the intention of causing distress merely because that was a natural and probable consequence of the disclosure.

(9) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable---

  • (a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both), and

  • (b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine (or both).

(10) Schedule (Disclosing private sexual photographs or films: providers of information society services) makes special provision in connection with the operation of this section in relation to persons providing information society services.

(11) In relation to an offence committed before section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes into force, the reference in subsection (9)(b) to 12 months is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(12) In relation to an offence committed before section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 comes into force, the reference in subsection (9)(b) to a fine is to be read as a reference to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

Meaning of disclose and photograph or film

(1) The following apply for the purposes of section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress), this section and section (Meaning of private and sexual).

(2) A person discloses something to a person if, by any means, he or she gives or shows it to the person or makes it available to the person.

(3) Something that is given, shown or made available to a person is disclosed---

  • (a) whether or not it is given, shown or made available for reward, and

  • (b) whether or not it has previously been given, shown or made available to the person.

(4) Photograph or film means a still or moving image in any form that---

  • (a) appears to consist of or include one or more photographed or filmed images, and

  • (b) in fact consists of or includes one or more photographed or filmed images.

(5) The reference in subsection (4)(b) to photographed or filmed images includes photographed or filmed images that have been altered in any way.

(6) Photographed or filmed image means a still or moving image that---

  • (a) was originally captured by photography or filming, or

  • (b) is part of an image originally captured by photography or filming.

(7) Filming means making a recording, on any medium, from which a moving image may be produced by any means.

(8) References to a photograph or film include---

  • (a) a negative version of an image described in subsection (4), and

  • (b) data stored by any means which is capable of conversion into an image described in subsection (4).

Meaning of private and sexual

(1) The following apply for the purposes of section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress).

(2) A photograph or film is private if it shows something that is not of a kind ordinarily seen in public.

(3) A photograph or film is sexual if---

  • (a) it shows all or part of an individual's exposed genitals or pubic area,

  • (b) it shows something that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual because of its nature, or

  • (c) its content, taken as a whole, is such that a reasonable person would consider it to be sexual.

(4) Subsection (5) applies in the case of ---

  • (a) a photograph or film that consists of or includes a photographed or filmed image that has been altered in any way,

  • (b) a photograph or film that combines two or more photographed or filmed images, and

  • (c) a photograph or film that combines a photographed or filmed image with something else.

(5) The photograph or film is not private and sexual if---

  • (a) it does not consist of or include a photographed or filmed image that is itself private and sexual,

  • (b) it is only private or sexual by virtue of the alteration or combination mentioned in subsection (4), or

  • (c) it is only by virtue of the alteration or combination mentioned in subsection (4) that the person mentioned in section (Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress)(1)(a) and (b) is shown as part of, or with, whatever makes the photograph or film private and sexual.

 

 Update: Crime Creation...

Minister for crime prevention dreams up the new crime of displaying lads' mags in shops


Link Here 13th October 2014
norman baker According to a press release from the moral campaigners of Child Eyes:

Minister for Crime Creation, Norman Baker MP (a not so Liberal Democrat), has confirmed that supermarkets who display magazines and newspapers with sexualized front covers at child height are not observing current legislation in relation to the Indecent Displays Act 1981.

Baker said in a letter to Child Eyes founders:

Child Eyes' concerns about publications with inappropriate or indecent images or text are fully understood and I believe the problem lies with the retailers, not the publishers.

I am grateful to the work of Child Eyes and I am particularly struck by the difficulties and resistance parents have been experiencing when seeking the cooperation of supermarkets who are often not observing current legislation.

Minister Baker has written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on Child Eyes' behalf and received a positive reply. David Cameron referred Minister Baker to the Bailey Review into the sexualisation of children, Letting Children Be Children (commissioned in 2012), which made a series of recommendations that shops and supermarkets should ensure that magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers are not in easy sight of children .

Minister Baker said that it is vital that a robust approach to promoting the self-regulation is in place and that the Indecent Displays Act is able to provide for sufficient protection on matters raised by Child Eyes.

 

 Updated: Police State...

MPs to investigate police misuse of Ripa powers to snoop on journalists


Link Here 13th October 2014
Kent Police Parliament routinely grants massive powers to the police and demonstrates an awful lot of trust in the police not abusing these powers. So it is very alarming when it seems that the police are indeed found to be abusing their powers.

Every police force in the UK is to be asked by a parliamentary committee to reveal how many times they have secretly snooped on journalists by obtaining their telephone and email records without their consent.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, said he wanted a detailed breakdown of police use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to force telecoms companies to hand over phone records without customers' knowledge.

His intervention comes after it emerged that police investigating the former MP Chris Huhne's speeding fraud secretly obtained a Mail on Sunday reporter's phone records without his consent , despite laws protecting journalistic confidential sources.

The newspaper said it had learned that officers from Kent police used laws designed for anti-terrorism to identify a source they had failed to secure through a court application.

It is the second time in a month that revelations have emerged of the police secretly ordering phone companies to hand over journalists' phone bills, fuelling fears that media organisations will not be able to protect sources, particularly police whistleblowers.

In September it emerged accidentally that the Metropolitan police had obtained the Sun's newsdesk telephone records and those of its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, to try to identify who had leaked it the Plebgate story about the former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell's altercation with police at the gates of Downing Street.

Update: Simon Hughes will ask the police to consult a judge before snooping on journalists' sources

13th October 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Ministry of Justice logo The UK government will reform the law to prevent the police using surveillance powers to discover journalistic sources, the justice minister, Simon Hughes, has confirmed in the wake of growing outcry at the misuse of powers.

Hughes said the police's use of powers had been entirely inappropriate and in future it would require the authorisation of a judge for police forces to be given approval to access journalists' phone records in pursuit of a criminal investigation. He said the presumption would be that if a journalist was acting in the public interest, they would be protected.

Speaking on Sky News's Murnaghan programme, Hughes added that if the police made an application to a court he would assume a journalist would be informed that the authorities were seeking to access his phone records. He said:

The principle has to be a) freedom of expression, b) journalists have a job to do and there is a public interest defence available to all journalists so you would be able to argue that case.

 

 Update: Government to Avenge Revenge...

Government to introduce a new criminal offence of distributing revenge pornography


Link Here 12th October 2014
Ministry of Justice logo A new criminal offence of posting so-called revenge pornography on the internet will carry a maximum jail term of two years, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has announced.

Cruel and angry individuals who publish intimate pictures, videos or text messages to retaliate against their former partners will be targeted with the new law.

The proposal will be formally proposed in Parliament this week.

This is a significant change of tack by the government as a few days ago the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that there were sufficient existing laws available to target revenge porn.

Speaking ahead of the debate in Parliament on Monday, Grayling said:

The fact that there are individuals who are cruelly distributing intimate pictures of their former partners without their consent is almost beyond belief. We want those who fall victim to this type of disgusting behaviour to know that we are on their side and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice. That is why we will change the law and make it absolutely clear to those who act in this way that they could face prison.

The new law will cover the sharing of images both online and offline. It will mean that images posted to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be caught by the offence, as well as those that are shared via text message. Images shared via email, on a website or the distribution of physical copies will also be caught. Those convicted will face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The Ministry of Justice said the offence would cover photographs or films which show people engaged in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way, or with their genitals exposed, where what is shown would not usually be seen in public.

Victims and others will be able to report offences to the police to investigate.

 

 Update: CPS to Avenge Revenge...

The Crown Prosecution Service explains that 'revenge porn' will be prosecuted under existing plentiful existing laws that target internet communications


Link Here 7th October 2014
Crown Prosecution Service The CPS has updated its legal guidance regarding the prosecution of communications sent via social media with a clear section that explains how current legislation can be used to prosecute offences involving the malicious use of intimate media, sometimes referred to as 'revenge pornography'.

This clarification does not signify a new approach but clearly sets out for prosecutors which laws can be used to bring these cases to court. In all cases the CPS will apply the most appropriate law which best addresses the alleged offending. It is a matter for Parliament to decide if further laws are needed or if changes need to be made to the current legislation. A spokesperson for the CPS said:

No one should have to suffer the hurt and humiliation of 'revenge pornography' -- a nasty and invasive crime that appears, anecdotally at least, to have increased as social media use has gone up.

The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes these cases using a range of current laws, and we have now clarified our legal guidance to set out clearly how these cases should be brought to court.

Due to the very personal nature of 'revenge pornography' prosecutors are being asked specifically to consider the impact on the victims involved. The new guidance also makes clear that the context of each case needs to be considered alongside current guidelines to ensure that the most appropriate legislation is used when prosecuting. The public, and indeed those intent on attacking former partners in this way, can now see clearly that this is a crime that can and will be prosecuted."

Revenge pornography' is typically sexually explicit media that is publically shared online without the consent of the pictured individual and is usually uploaded by ex-partners.  The images are often accompanied by personal information including the pictured individual's full name, links to social media profiles and address, and are shared with the intent to cause distress or harm to the individual.

The guidance outlines:

  • The issue in cases of 'revenge pornography' will be whether the message or communication is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false, not whether the image itself is indecent or obscene.
  • Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 deals with the sending of electronic communications which are indecent, grossly offensive, threatening or false, provided there is an intention to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.
  • Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send or cause to be sent through a 'public electronic communications network' a message that is 'grossly offensive' or of an 'indecent, obscene or menacing character'.
  • Where there is more than one incident, or the incident forms part of a course of conduct directed towards an individual, a charge of harassment should be considered.
  • Where the images may have been taken when the victim was under 18, prosecutors will consider offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
  • In the most serious cases, where intimate images are used to coerce victims into further sexual activity, other offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will be considered.

In order to prosecute, all cases must meet the evidential stage in the Full Code Test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and be considered to be in the public interest.

These offences would not normally be brought under the Obscene Publications Act.

We have informed the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications of this change, following their interest in the subject earlier this year. The CPS legal guidance on the prosecution of cases involving communications sent via social media were drafted specifically due to the rapid expansion of social media and can be found on  www.cps.gov.uk

 

  Will some body think of the children...

Government led UKCCIS discusses new ideas for internet censorship


Link Here 5th October 2014
UKCCIS logo The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is a government led forum where it discusses internet censorship issues with industry and selected campaigners. It is not really limited to child safety issues.

The latest minutes reveal discussions about:

  • Revenge porn .

    Maria Miller for the government argued that the posting of sexual images of adults without their consent should be classified as a sexual offence. The law is currently opaque in this area and there is a need for guidance.
     
  • Net Neutrality .

    There were concerns that the push for net neutrality does not allow for interference in a free internet, for example by imposing mandatory website censorship for public wi-fi.
     
  • Religious Extremism .

    Immediately before the Executive Board, James Brokenshire met with the four ISPs to talk about the inclusion of extremist material in their family friendly filters.

    Filtering often doesn't reach content on social media platforms. The Home Office is in conversation with major social media companies about safe mode   have spoken to Google, Facebook etc.
     

  • Public Wi-Fi

    It is worth considering other areas of concern where public Wi-Fi has a role to play e.g. revenge porn and extremism. We should find out whether public Wi-Fi could filter further.

 

  Copyright Exceptions 2014...

Details of the exceptions to copyright that allow limited use of copyright works without the permission of the copyright owner.


Link Here 4th October 2014
arms of the british governmentjpg logo Overview

You may wish to make use of someone else's copyright protected works. There are certain very specific situations where you may be permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner. These can be found in the copyright sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) .

Non-commercial research and private study

You are allowed to copy limited extracts of works when the use is non-commercial research or private study, but you must be genuinely studying (like you would if you were taking a college course). Such use is only permitted when it is 'fair dealing' and copying the whole work would not generally be considered fair dealing.

The purpose of this exception is to allow students and researchers to make limited copies of all types of copyright works for non-commercial research or private study. In assessing whether your use of the work is permitted or not you must assess if there is any financial impact on the copyright owner because of your use. Where the impact is not significant, the use may be acceptable.

If your use is for non-commercial research you must ensure that the work you reproduce is supported by a sufficient acknowledgment.

Text and data mining for non-commercial research

Text and data mining is the use of automated analytical techniques to analyse text and data for patterns, trends and other useful information. Text and data mining usually requires copying of the work to be analysed.

An exception to copyright exists which allows researchers to make copies of any copyright material for the purpose of computational analysis if they already have the right to read the work (that is, they have 'lawful access' to the work). This exception only permits the making of copies for the purpose of text and data mining for non-commercial research. Researchers will still have to buy subscriptions to access material; this could be from many sources including academic publishers.

Publishers and content providers will be able to apply reasonable measures to maintain their network security or stability but these measures should not prevent or unreasonably restrict researcher's ability to text and data mine. Contract terms that stop researchers making copies to carry out text and data mining will be unenforceable.

Criticism, review and reporting current events

Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation is allowed for any type of copyright work. Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of reporting current events is allowed for any type of copyright work other than a photograph). In each of these cases, a sufficient acknowledgment will be required.

As stated, a photograph cannot be reproduced for the purpose of reporting current events. The intention of the law is to prevent newspapers or magazines reproducing photographs for reporting current events which have appeared in competitor's publications.

Teaching

Several exceptions allow copyright works to be used for educational purposes, such as:

  • the copying of works in any medium as long as the use is solely to illustrate a point, it is not done for commercial purposes, it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement, and the use is fair dealing. This means minor uses, such as displaying a few lines of poetry on an interactive whiteboard, are permitted, but uses which would undermine sales of teaching materials are not
  • performing, playing or showing copyright works in a school, university or other educational establishment for educational purposes. However, it only applies if the audience is limited to teachers, pupils and others directly connected with the activities of the establishment. It will not generally apply if parents are in the audience. Examples of this are showing a video for English or drama lessons and the teaching of music. It is unlikely to include the playing of a video during a wet playtime purely to amuse the children
  • Recording a TV programme or radio broadcast for non-commercial educational purposes in an educational establishment, provided there is no licensing scheme in place. Generally a licence will be required from the Educational Recording Agency)
  • making copies by using a photocopier, or similar device on behalf of an educational establishment for the purpose of non-commercial instruction, provided that there is no licensing scheme in place. Generally a licence will be required from the Copyright Licensing Agency
Helping disabled people

There are 2 exceptions to copyright for the benefit of disabled people. These exceptions cover you if you have a physical or mental impairment which prevents you from accessing copyright protected materials.

One exception allows you, or someone acting on your behalf, to make a copy of a lawfully obtained copyright work if you make it in a format that helps you access the material. For example, if you buy a book from a shop then make a Braille copy to help with a visual impairment then you are not infringing the copyright in the book.

You are entitled to make an accessible copy, or have someone else make one for you, if:

  • you lawfully own, or have the right to use a copy of the work (for example, you own it or have borrowed it from a library), but the work is inaccessible because of a physical or mental impairment
  • a copy that would be accessible to you is not commercially available

The second exception permits educational establishments and charity organisations to make accessible format-copies of protected works on behalf of disabled people. The exception permits acts such as:

  • making braille, audio or large-print copies of books, newspapers or magazines for visually-impaired people
  • adding audio-description to films or broadcasts for visually-impaired people
  • making sub-titled films or broadcasts for deaf or hard of hearing people
  • making accessible copies of books, newspapers or magazines for dyslexic people

However, this exception does not apply when suitable accessible copies are commercially available.

Please note that no-one can make a profit out of helping you make an accessible copy, but they are able to charge a fee covering any they costs incur in making and supplying such a copy.

Time-shifting

A recording of a broadcast can be made in domestic premises for private and domestic use to enable it to be viewed or listened to at a more convenient time.

The making of a recording of a broadcast for purposes other than to time-shift a programme for you or your family is likely to be illegal.

Personal copying for private use

The personal copying exception permits you to make copies of media (CDs, ebooks etc) you have bought, for private purposes such as format shifting or backup without infringing copyright. For example the exception would allow you to copy content that you have bought on a CD onto your MP3 player, provided it is for your own private use.

However, it is unlawful to make copies for friends or family, or to make a copy of something you do not own or have acquired illegally, without the copyright owner's permission. So you are not able to copy CDs borrowed from friends, or to copy videos illegally downloaded from file-sharing websites.

You are permitted to make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud. However, it is unlawful to give other people access to the copies you have made, including, for example, by allowing a friend to access your personal cloud storage.

Parody, caricature and pastiche

There is an exception to copyright that permits people to use limited amounts of copyright material without the owner's permission for the purpose of parody, caricature or pastiche.

For example a comedian may use a few lines from a film or song for a parody sketch; a cartoonist may reference a well known artwork or illustration for a caricature; an artist may use small fragments from a range of films to compose a larger pastiche artwork.

It is important to understand, however, that this exception only permits use for the purposes of caricature, parody, or pastiche to the extent that it is fair dealing.

Sufficient acknowledgment

In relation to certain exceptions, if you are making use of that exception to copy someone else's work it is necessary for you to sufficiently acknowledge their work. For example, where you have copied all or a substantial part of a work for the purposes of criticism or review, or where the use was for the purposes of news reporting.

However such acknowledgment is not required where it is impossible for reasons of practicality.

Fair dealing

Certain exceptions only apply if the use of the work is a 'fair dealing'. For example, the exceptions relating to research and private study, criticism or review, or news reporting.

'Fair dealing' is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?

Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair include:

  • does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair
  • is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used

The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.

 

 Offsite Article: Disgraceful...


Link Here 3rd October 2014
conservative party logo Tories promise policy to withdraw human rights from British people

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: New Laws start today...

A new government imposition of burdensome and unnecessary BBFC censorship on music, sport and documentary DVDs starts on 1st October


Link Here 1st October 2014

bbfc cash logo Video Recordings Act extended to previously exempt works

The BBFC announced:

On 4 August 2014, the Video Recordings Act was amended to lower the threshold at which certain video content loses its exemption from classification. This amendment comes into effect on 1 October 2014.

From 1 October, documentaries, sports and music video works that can currently claim exemption will be required to seek a BBFC classification if they contain material which could be potentially harmful or otherwise unsuitable for children and, as with video games, works will have to be classified if they contain material which would be rated 12 and above.

See also BBFC Submission Guide covering fees and procedures [pdf]

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014

See new law from legislation.gov.uk

A new law came into force today allowing use of copyright material for the purposes of parody:

Caricature, parody or pastiche

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

So at least we can now generate parody BBFC symbols.

 

  New Laws start today...

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014..


Link Here 1st October 2014
arms of the british governmentjpg logo Good news from the government. New copyright exclusions have been generated for quotations from copyrighted work and for parodies of copyrighted work. The key paragraphs from the law read:

Quotations

Copyright in a work is not infringed by the use of a quotation from the work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise) provided that:

(a) the work has been made available to the public,

(b) the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work,

(c) the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and

(d) the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise). "

Caricature, parody or pastiche

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing' is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?

Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair include:

  • does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair

  • is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used

The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.

 

  New Laws start today...

Legal backup of our own copyrighted mp3s, CDs and DVDs


Link Here 1st October 2014
Sony 50CDQ80SP 700MB Spindle Discs Starting today UK citizens are free to copy MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use. After an unexpected delay, UK copyright law was amended to legalize this common form of copying. In addition, the changes also broaden other forms of fair use, including parody and quotation rights.

To most consumers it's common sense that they can make a backup copy of media they own, but in the UK this has been illegal until today.

After consulting various stakeholders the Government decided that it would be in the best interests of consumers to legalize copying for personal use.

Final issues were resolved this summer and after a brief delay private copying is now legal.

This means that people are now free to make copies of DVDs, CDs and other types of media, as long as they're for personal use and without copyright protection. In addition, it's no longer copyright-infringing to store copies of legally purchased media to the cloud.

For the public the amendments are certainly a welcome change from the more restrictive copyright laws that were previously in place. See a full overview of 2014 copyright changes .

The Open Rights Group has done an awful lot of work over 9 years to secure these most welcome changes. Executive Director Jim Killock said:

Open Rights Group logo It has been a long, drawn-out campaign but we're delighted that people who contribute to the rich creativity of the internet by creating parodies will now have protection under the law. It's also right that copying our own legally bought music or books for personal use will no longer be illegal.

Thanks to these changes, the government has taken this significant step towards making copyright law reflect the way we use and share content in the digital age. Contrary to what copyright lobbyists claim, updating the law will actually benefit rights holders by ensuring we have a stronger, more legitimate copyright regime.

Open Rights group has been campaigning for change to copyright law since the Gowers review in 2006. Following a second government review, the Hargreaves review in 2011, over 1400 parodists signed ORG's right to parody petition calling for change. In May this year that Parliament approved three of five statutory instruments relating to copyright law but asked for further debate over exceptions for parody and for personal copying (also known as format shifting). At the time, ORG raised concerns that the rights industry was demanding compensation that would lead to an iPod tax but the SIs were finally approved by the House of Lords at the end of July.

 

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